Yosip Khnanisho

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Mar Yosip Khnanisho
Mar Yosip Khnanisho.jpg
The mutran Joseph Hnanishoʿ (1893–1977), photographed in Baghdad
Metropolitan of Shemsdin
Born 1893
Died 3 July 1977
Venerated in Assyrian Church of the East

Mar Yosip Khnanisho (Syriac: ܡܪܝ ܝܘܣܦ ܚܢܢܝܫܘܥ‎), the twelfth Metropolitan or Matran of Shemsdin from 1918 to 1977.



As it was the custom for an uncle to pass on to the first born nephew the Sacred Episcopal Office, Yosip's mother abstained from meats until the child's birth and weaning.[1] Yosip was born in 1893 into the Mar Khnanishu family, a family from which had come twelve Metropolitan Archbishops. He lived in the Village of Mar Ishoo in the region of Shamisdan in modern-day Turkey, near the monastery of Mar Ishoo, which had been built at the beginning of the 5th century. He studied with Rev. Rehana, his father's uncle and head of the Seminary in Mar Ishu Monastery.

Yosip was ordained a deacon at age 12 and ordained as a priest in 1912 at the age of 20. In 1914, he was sent as a delegate to participate in a meeting at the patriarchal cell in Qudchanis to discuss the effects of World War I on the Church and the nation and prepare for the changes that were expected to take place. While there, he was consecrated a Bishop on August 10, 1914 at age 22. He remained in Qudchanis until 1916. When the Assyrian Christians sought a safe haven elsewhere, Yosip took a great number of believers to the city of Baqooba.


In 1918, Mar Yosip was appointed as assistant to the Patriarch Mar Shimun XXII Paulos as Locum Tenens. In December 1918 he was elevated to the rank of metropolitan of Baghdad and filled the role as Patriarchal administrator while then Patriarch Mar Shimun XXII Paulos was sick, up until his death in 1920.[1]

In 1933, he was made administrator of the Church in Iraq and the Middle East. In 1973 when Shimun XXIII Eshai, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, was exiled to Cyprus, Yosip Khnanisho was vested with responsibilities of administering the Church worldwide.[1] At the same time the Iraqi government issued a Republican decree appointing Yosip Khnanisho as the Supreme Head of all the Assyrians in Iraq.


On the 3 July 1977, Yosip died in Baghdad, Iraq. His funeral services were conducted on 6 July 1977, at the Church of St George (Mar Gewargis) in Dora, a suburb of Baghdad.

Mar Yosip Khnanisho Church in San Jose, California is named after the metropolitan.


See also[edit]